Reviews: Finding Nemo

Pixar's Magnum Opus

Damn near everything about Finding Nemo is perfect. I shouldn't really need to mention the animation because dogs bark, birds fly and Pixar films have good animation. But I feel like I should mention it anyway as water is difficult to animate and yet 95% of the movie is set underwater, but it still looks incredible. The designs of the sea animals are cartoony but not to the point of being distracting and the humans glide straight over the Uncanny Valley and aren't creepy as hell (the humans in the first Toy Story have always creeped me out a bit.)

The story is a standard "hero and his quirky sidekick go on a quest" plot but it's very well paced, you never get bored and it's far more interesting than standard quest stories as Marlin isn't looking for buried tresure or the Holy Grail - he's looking for his son. That theme of parenthood and responsibilty is what makes Nemo entertaining and engaging for adults, as well as children. Marlin and Dory are both very likable and engaging characters and you WILL want they to suceed in their quest. The side characters (the Tank Gang, the turtles, Nigel the pelican) are also well written and likable.

Nemo is also a shining example of why not every story needs or requires a villain and it shall lead the charge in my great campaign to prove this to everyone. In conclusion, forget Ratatouille, screw The Incredibles; Finding Nemo is Pixar at their very best and it's a big shame that it often gets overlooked.

A Pixar classic

When Pixar's beloved "Finding Nemo" sailed into our cinemas in 2003, people young and old were absolutely thrilled by it. It became an instant classic of animation, a major animated blockbuster that proved once more that Pixar was something truly special. And what a gorgeous movie this is indeed.

A tour-de-force of artistic elegance, Finding Nemo has some of the most exquisite animation ever crafted for an animated movie. Almost every underwater scene is utterly divine. However, what makes this movie especially excellent is that the animation doesn't distract from the magnificent story. Almost every character in the movie is unique and memorable, almost every scene is creative, fresh and at times, powerfully affecting, and every stage of the journey to find Nemo is engaging and well-paced. This is a truly grand and timeless film.

One particularly great aspect of this movie is its sense of beautiful melancholia. While we know that Nemo will of course return home safe in the end, the constant feeling of desperation, regret and sadness fits the movie like a glove. This allows us to make very strong connections with the characters, and despite the film's somber atmosphere, it never feels overly depressing or dark because it's just so warm and likable. The film also has a glorious, heavenly soundtrack, often soothing enough to bring tears.

The only problem I have with Finding Nemo is its hit-or-miss humour. Don't get me wrong, this movie does have several good jokes and amusing moments in it, but unfortunately, it also has several jokes which aren't very funny. Most of the weaker joke material takes place in the dentistís fish tank, as some of it is rather unsophisticated and lazy. Also, as well-meaning and sweet-natured as Dory is, I can't help but find some of her kooky teasing a tad too insensitive towards the grieving, heartbroken Marlin. The running gag of her forgetting everything isn't always as funny as it should be as well.

Finding Nemo is my fourth-favourite Pixar film, a heartwarming, spectacularly-animated and gigantic adventure that more than deserves its legacy. Because a fair amount of its humour doesn't work, I sadly can't call Finding Nemo a full-on masterpiece, but it's very close to being one. This is an enchanting, touching story for all ages that will never date, and is one of Pixar's finest accomplishments.

Pretty, but not to my taste

There is no doubt that the movie is a feast for the eyes, but I don't find the story to be a feast for the mind. For my taste, it's too episodic. The first time I watched it, I had to leave part way through to take an emergency phone call. Twenty minutes later, I walked back in and found that I hadn't really missed anything. That sums up my overall response to the movie. You don't really miss anything if you don't see it. True, there's a story arc for both Marlin and Nemo, but neither one is an arc that requires a full-length movie.

It's still very pretty, I will always grant that, though.